Week 12 – Friday, Sat, Sun – Friends and the Beanie!

From a medical point of view most things are going well with one exception – my kidney function.

Over the last week or so my kidney function has deteriorated somewhat.  The doctors have put this down to a side effect of the Ambisome (IV drug used to treat my lung infection – Aspergillus).  I will probably be on this drug for another few months.

Kidneys are your primary cleaning machine for your blood stream and at the moment mine are not doing their job. I have a very high Creatinine reading of 200 umo/L – almost twice the normal count.  In addition my urea levels are much higher than normal at 15.2 mml/L.

Creatinine is a component of the breakdown of protein.  If I was a body builder or had changed my diet to be protein only then I’d expect a high Creatinine level in my blood.  But without these the doctors can only put this down to a side effect of the drugs I am taking.

To overcome this I need to consume large amounts of fluid in an attempt to flush the system.  It is not unusual for me to drink 2-3 litres of fluid a day, plus the HITH team are adding a litre of IV fluid on top of this.  My body is passing this through (meaning going to the toilet all the time!) but the Creatinine levels area stubbornly staying high.

I have a consult with the lead BMT consultant, Amit Khot this week so hopefully the treatment to this will be discussed.


On of the great things about this illness (is this really possible) is that I have managed to catch up with many friends for meaningful conversations.

Friday morning started with a visit by Rob Neal, from Condobolin.  Rob was down to row in a masters crew in the Head of the Yarra.  Not bad for a country boy!

For Friday lunch we caught up with Kate Sutherland and business partner John Regan to discuss family, berries and life in general.  Kate’s twin daughters are great friends with Claire and in fact Kate is often referred to as Claire’s surrogate mother and Claire as the third of the Sutherland twins!!  Kate,  John and his wife Marion run a huge berry business in Tasmania, Burlington Berries, and husband Stewart runs Upper Murray Seeds.  They are a busy couple.

And on Friday evening we enjoyed dinner with Michelle Loane and Alison Napier – farmers from the Fingal Valley where we live in Tassie – who were over to watch their kids row in the Yarra regatta.

Friends making a visit over the weekend included the Gilfedder family – Mike, Nicole, Jack (and girlfriend Bec) and Sam minus their daughter Lucy.  It was great to catch up with these guys after 12 months or so.

On Saturday night we caught a movie, at the Kino – The Teacher after eating out at a trendy little restaurant, Tonka.

Harry Youngman visited for lunch Sunday were we got to talk family and of course business.  I love my catch ups with Harry as he is a great entrepreneur with lots of activity in the Ag space.

Harry Youngman from Hamilton in the Western Districts

And Sunday afternoon we rode out bikes over to Yarraville to the Sun Theatre to see the Voyage of the Southern Sun – a documentary about Mike Smith’s flight around the world in a small 2 seat home built sea plane.  This is a great doco and worth catching if you can.

The Beanie Auction

The beanie auction has now closed and the winning bidder is Michael McConachy of Helispirit in Kununurra, WA.  Michael is my business partner but I can assure everyone that he did not have any inside information!  Congratulations Michael!!

Michael paid $750 for the beanie (I’m not sure how much use it will get in the Kimberley) but was closely followed by Liz Dowling on $700 and Roger Wakefield also on $700.  My sister Fiona and husband Michael bid $550 early on and we had plenty of bids in the $200 and $300s.

Payment Details:

If you pre-registered please pay your $10 (or $15 if you were a late starter) this week and thanks to those losing bidders who have pledged to make a contribution equal to their bid (not mandatory but very generous) to the hospital fund (for the butterfly enclosure next to room 5!)

Donation details are on this link – :


Choose Cancer Services as the Gift Preference .

Then email your name, address, donation amount and a note that your contribution is for Ward 7B to Sandie Baskin – the lady in the red jacket with the gold jewellery, RMH fundraising and bequest coordinator!! (sandie.baskin@mh.org.au ).

Sandie will track the contributions ensuring they go to Ward 7B  and send you receipt  for tax purposes.

Michael McConachy is the proud owner of the Beanie for $750


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